Monday, February 24, 2014

A Cultural Experience

Traditional Hanok
Orientation has been GREAT!  I am really impressed with how organized everything is, which contributes to a smooth operation.  Even the lecturers have been really interesting...great information and well-presented with good humor.  Most of the lecturers are current or past EPIK teachers, so they've been able to give us some good insight into what to expect.  We have two lectures in the morning and two more after lunch followed by survival Korean lessons after dinner.  They've been full days but have gone by fast!

In between lectures on lesson planning, school etiquette, after school classes, summer camps, etc., we've had a few cultural experiences.  During an introductory Taekwondo class, I broke my first board (not gonna lie...I'm a little proud of myself for that one).  I really enjoyed the class and plan to look into taking lessons while I'm over here.

Our drum instructor
(he was a patient man).
My completed pencil box decorated with hanji. 
Today we had a field trip to an old Korean village in Jeonju called Hanok Village.  There we got to decorate pencil boxes using hanji, traditional handmade paper from Korea.  We also learned about the role drums play in traditional Korean music and learned how to play the jangu.  The village contained a mix of traditional Korean houses known as Hanoks and modern buildings.  Most of us also tried an intriguing looking dessert called jipangei ice cream - imagine vanilla ice cream in an edible tube made of Captain Crunch.  Yum!

Hanok Village -- notice the contrast of old and new.

We still have three full days of orientation.  On the last full day (Thursday, February 27), we'll be presenting lesson demonstrations in the morning and meeting with our district supervisors in the afternoon.  That is when I will finally learn what school I will be in and the grade I will be teaching.  On Friday, we'll be taken to our schools to meet our co-teachers.  Our co-teachers will then take us to our apartments where we will finally start to settle in and make our new home.  So far, so good!  Looking forward to even more great experiences...
My delicious treat of jipangei ice cream.

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